Alchemy and the Art of Software Development

Short Form


The metaphors we choose impose constraints on our thinking. We’ve chosen a limited set of fields to define our mental constraints. But almost any domain of human knowledge contains a rich vocabulary of patterns, metaphors, and tenets that can inform our problem-solving capabilities...


Our profession borrows ideas from engineering, architecture, and other sciences, adopting language that influences and constrains our thinking. But there are rich sources of metaphors from other areas of human knowledge. Metaphysical systems, for example, embody hundreds of years of investigating and modeling the world, our minds, and our interactions with the universe around us. This talk will explore some of these systems, uncovering gems that may change the way we think about our craft and our selves.

Speaking experience

I've spoken at over a dozen conferences, including RailsConf, RubyConf Australia, and Madison+ Ruby. This talk was previously given last year at Madison+ Ruby. You can find a list of my talks with links to videos at


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    Coraline Ada Ehmke is a speaker, author, teacher, open source advocate and technologist with 20 years of experience in developing apps for the web. As a founding member of LGBTech, and and, she works diligently to promote diversity and inclusivity in the tech industry. Her current interests include refactoring, code analytics and artificial intelligence.